I published the key info yesterday on the Microsoft Surface RT offer for education customers in Australia, which allows schools, TAFEs and universities to buy Surface RT from AU$219.
Overnight I’ve had a couple of questions from people about the offer, and I’ve also laid my hands on the full Surface RT Offer FAQ document that we published, so here’s a summary:
Common questions about the Surface RT offer for education
Is there a minimum order requirement for the Surface RT offer?
No. Education institutions may buy any quantity of Surface RT for their organisation. Pricing is only available until 31 August 2013. And you can place as many orders as you wish – for example, you could order a dozen now for your staff, and then some for students separately (do bear in mind that the offer is only valid while supplies last).
How do institutions order their Surface RTs?
The Surface RT in Education brochure contains an order form (all the forms are linked here). Fill out the order form with a valid purchase order number and send it to SurfaceEDU@microsoft.com. You will get an email back confirming the order and details on fulfilment.
What does shipping cost?
We’ve already included that in the price of the offer, so there aren’t any additional shipping charges
How does Surface RT compare to iPad and Android?
There are many differences between Surface RT and iPad and Android. One of the most important differences to schools is Surface RT comes with a touch-optimised version of Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT - Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote (the free Windows 8.1 update will also provide an RT version of Outlook). Microsoft Office is among the most popular productivity software in schools and businesses. Its inclusion in Surface RT means that your students and teachers will be ready to get to work on Surface right away.
Surface RT also lets users multitask between applications, share the device between many users, provides USB and HD video out ports, optional keyboard covers, integration of Internet Explorer 10 to run Flash based websites, lots of storage and a file system, a high quality display, and excellent battery life.
I’ve heard there are more apps on iOS and Android? What can I expect from Surface RT?
With over 20,000 educationally-relevant apps worldwide in the Windows Store from many of the biggest names in education, like Khan Academy and leading publishers - there is an app for almost every subject.
There are also some fabulous apps from Australian companies that have been released for Windows 8, and provide new learning possibilities with touch devices, plus all the ones I’ve listed here have free versions too:
- nsquared in Sydney have developed some fabulous collaborative learning apps for primary school students, and a really cool chemistry collaboration app for high schools.
- ClickView, which is used in many Australian schools, have developed ClickView Player, where users can create their own playlists and vodcasts, and get HD streaming and video playback using the optimised Windows 8 player
- Lucas Moffitt, a developer in Newcastle, has focused on creating applications to help Australian teachers with classroom and curriculum management. His ‘Teacher Collection’ apps include apps for assignment marking, planning lessons, teacher prac observations, and learning activity apps like Sort It.
But don’t forget, that because Microsoft has optimized the web browsing experience for HTML 5 and Flash, you don’t need lots of specific apps like you do on tablets which can run Flash. For example, you can run the full Mathletics website on a Surface RT, whereas on an iPad you have to download apps containing some parts of the Mathletics resources, because you can’t access a Flash website fully.
Is this the only device that there are offers for?
There are lots of Windows 8 computers and tablets available from our partners, and many of them are also running special offers on Windows 8 devices for education customers. You’ll find the info on offers from Lenovo, Acer, HP, Fujitsu and Toshiba over on our main website.
What is the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT?
Windows 8 comes in three versions (Home, Pro and Enterprise) and runs on Intel x86 chipset. Windows RT comes in one version and runs on the ARM chipset. Windows RT devices are lightweight, have thin form factors, and better battery life. Windows 8 x86 devices can run your existing legacy Windows software, and software requiring intense processing power, as well as the new modern Windows 8 apps downloaded from the Windows Store. Windows RT ARM devices can run applications like Microsoft Office 2013 RT and the new modern Windows 8 apps exclusively from the Windows Store. Windows 8 x86 devices running Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise have enterprise level security and manageability features.
You can read more about the differences on the main Microsoft website under “Which Surface is right for you?”
On the Order Form, what does “Institution tax ID” mean?
What we’re asking for is the institution’s ABN number. It allows us to check the official purchase order details.
We’ve already got a Hardware Vendor Panel that Surface RT isn’t on – can we still order?
I understand the issue around hardware vendor panels, and recognise that may be an issue for some institutions. You’ll need to check your institution’s processes and guidelines. I know that some people will have to miss out on this offer because of their rules, whilst others have ways of making exceptional one-off purchases.
I’ve read that Windows RT devices can’t connect to a domain – is that right?
OK, fair to say that this question came from somebody quite technical, but I know others will be interested in my answer! Although you’re absolutely right that you can’t ‘Domain Join’ a Windows RT device, with Windows 8.1 (which will be a free upgrade) we’ve included a range of significant enhancements to improve manageability using non-domain joined computers.
Some of the additional capabilities coming to Windows 8.1 are:
- Workplace Join – giving a middle ground between all or nothing access, allowing a user to work on the device of their choice, and still have access to corporate resources. IT can grant some access rights, and enforce some governance parameters on the device
- Work Folders – allows a user to sync data to their device for a network user folder, and IT can enforce policies including automated Rights Management (eg as they leave the school, they lose access to the Work Folders on their device & centrally)
- Improved Mobile Device Management – of course, even though I’d love everybody to use our System Center for management, we’ve included support for Open MDM so that customers can choose from a range of tools. My advice for looking at device management is to consider the role of Intune, because of the capabilities it enables (like having an institutional app store available to Windows 8 devices, whether they are domain-controlled or simply device managed.
Here’s a downloadable PDF version of the official Surface RT Offer FAQ, if you’d like something to share with colleagues.
You can either read my overview of the Microsoft Surface RT offer for education customers in Australia from yesterday, or go to the official offer site to download the Brochure, Pricing and Order Forms